Black Canadian Studies

About the Black Canadian Studies Certificate

The Black Canadian Studies Certificate introduces the study of Black Canada through four specific humanities and fine arts approaches: cultural studies, history, literature, and music. In providing a core of courses that consider the humanities and fine arts aspects of black cultures in the Americas and their particular convergence in Canada, the certificate is unique both in Canada and across North America. While students have access to a variety of programs that deal with race and racism, theoretical questions of import to how blackness operates as a unique racial and cultural category are often elided in generalized approaches to thinking about race. In addition, the study of culture is not essentially an anti-racist exercise or analysis. The purpose of this certificate is an integrated examination of the historical, cultural and various expressive productions of people of African descent in the Americas through the lens of Black Canada. While the certificate addresses the ways in which resistance is at the core of black cultures, it does not focus on the phenomenon of racism for itself. The certificate’s uniqueness will be enhanced by incorporating a professional application component through a new Black Canadian Studies practicum for students interested in leveraging their understanding of black cultures in Canada into careers in the public or not-for-profit sectors. By allowing students to combine the certificate with their existing programs, this concentrated study will produce a more knowledgeable and vibrant criticism in and of the arts, where black culture is ubiquitous and deeply influential, and a more knowledgeable social critique.

The Black Canadian Studies Certificate offers students a carefully focused curriculum with a clear set of choices and a clear path to completion that will allow them to build a sense of community and move through the certificate requirements as a cohort.

A required course at the first-year level (AP/HUMA 1300 9.0 Cultures of Resistance in the Americas) provides a broad and critical survey, acquainting students with the historical and cultural experiences of black peoples across the Americas. Students count six of these credits toward the certificate. Required courses at the focus levels offer students a more comprehensive understanding of specific aspects of black cultural production and black histories. These are taught from interdisciplinary humanities (AP/HUMA 3165 3.0 Griots to Emcees: Examining Culture, Performance and Spoken Word; AP/HUMA 3315 3.0 Black Literatures and Cultures in Canada; AP/HUMA 3318 3.0 Black Popular Culture) and historical perspectives (AP/HIST 3535 6.0 African Canadian History; AP/HIST 4830 6.0 In Slavery and Freedom: Blacks in the Americas). Optional courses at the focus levels allow students to concentrate on either the expressive arts (FA/MUSI 3406 3.0 History of Gospel Music; FA/MUSI 3510 3.0 African American Popular Music; AP/HUMA 3315 3.0 Black Women’s Writing; AP/EN 3410 3.0 Caribbean Literature) or a professional development component where they apply their knowledge of black cultures in Canada beyond an academic setting (AP/HUMA 4305 3.0 Black Canadian Studies Practicum; AP/MIST 4052 3.0 Race, Ethnicity and Social Policy—same as AP/PPAS 4052 3.0); and AP/SOSC 3043. 3.0 Comparative Perspectives on Social Exclusion and Business).

Student Testimonials

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